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Comment about 35 years old (Score 1) 498

I gave my last working 8" floppy drive to the Galway computer museum but I still have the data (from the late 70s), transferred to newer media as they were invented.

The oldest "files" that I can restore from the original media are IBM1800 FORTRAN programs stored on 80 column punched cards and PDP-11 code on paper tape. They date from 1974.

I would have some older punched card archives but my mom found them and (thinking they were waste) used them to write shopping lists on (after I had moved out but before I had a permanent place of my own to store my stuff in).

Comment Deadlier than the terrorists (Score 5, Interesting) 681

"... assuming that the radiation in a backscatter X-ray is about a hundredth the dose of a dental X-ray, we find that a backscatter X-ray increases the odds of dying from cancer by about 16 ten millionths of one percent. That suggests that for every billion passengers screened with backscatter radiation, about 16 will die from cancer as a result." "Given that there will be 600 million airplane passengers per year, that makes the machines deadlier than the terrorists."

Comment logic bombs on a timer (Score 4, Interesting) 328

The worst timed logic bomb I have had to deal with was by an intern who was looking for more pay. He had written a statistical analysis program that would have started to introduce subtle errors several weeks after he had left. If I had not found it then our stats would have become useless after a few months of that mangling. I assume he was hoping we would notice data errors, panic and re-hire him to fix it without realizing that he had caused the errors. I became suspicious when the timestamp on the Java source was newer than the class file so I did some reverse engineering. He had edited the logic bomb out of the source after compiling.

Comment Azimov story... (Score 5, Interesting) 237

Isaac Azimov wrote a short sci-fi story about an explorer, who had just come back from visiting the newly contacted planet "Earth", adding humans to the "Register Of Intelligent Life". Some minutes later, after the explorer explained how humans tested atomic bombs "on their own planet" the registrar erased the entry as being unqualified for inclusion under "Intelligent".

Comment Diego Garcia (Score 4, Informative) 195

The island of Diego Garcia used to be a favourite for such phone scams. Phone companies have international agreements to tranfer money, a portion of what they bill for international calls. In the case of the scam calls to Diego Garcia the money could be siphoned off by middlemen because Diego Garcia did not have agreements with all phone companies (bad credit rating?) and the money was routed indrectly. Something similar is happening here. The Irish Communications Regulator blocked direct dial calls to a list of countries to cut down on such fraud

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If all the world's economists were laid end to end, we wouldn't reach a conclusion. -- William Baumol